Russia's Wagner mercenary group claimed they had captured the town hall in Bakhmut. Meanwhile, Ukraine denied this claim and said that Russian forces are "very far" from capturing Bakhmut.
Ukraine said on Monday that Russian forces were "very far" from capturing the eastern town of Bakhmut and that fighting raged around the city administration building where the Wagner mercenary group claimed to have raised the Russian flag.
"Bakhmut is Ukrainian and they have not captured anything and are very far from doing that to put it mildly," Serhiy Cherevatyy, spokesperson for the eastern military command, said.
Earlier, Russia's Wagner mercenary group claimed it had captured the town hall in the Ukrainian eastern town of Bakhmut, giving it "legal" control, but Ukraine said its forces still held the town.
Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin posted a video on his Telegram channel showing him holding a Russian flag, which he said his forces would plant on Bakhmut's town hall.
"This is the Wagner private military company, these are the guys who took Bakhmut. In a legal sense, it's ours," Prigozhin said.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday praised Ukrainian troops' defense of the city, much of which now lies in ruins.
"I am grateful to our warriors who are fighting near Avdiivka, Maryinka, near Bakhmut... Especially Bakhmut! It's especially hot there today!" Zelenskyy said.
The Russian army, supported by the Wagner group, has pressed hard to surround Bakhmut hoping to claim a battlefield victory after the string of humiliating reversals.